There were breaking news alerts on my iPad and iPhone waiting for me when I got up extra early at 4 a.m. because I had so much to do. “Earthquake,” they said. “Tsunami warnings.” I flipped on the television.
Oh, my sweet Jesus, the destruction, water furiously consuming all in its path, terrified people evacuating buildings.
I felt small and helpless and alone, no one up but me and the dog. I called my mother, knowing she’d be up. We talked about the disaster for a minute or two before we hung up and I returned to my work.
I proofread and spell-checked a writing project before sending it off to a client. I checked on LivingstonTalk.com and then the site’s traffic stats. For a second I felt elated by the numbers, up by nearly 40 percent over last month.
Then I realized I was crying.
The dog whined to go outdoors and I stood on the snow-covered deck in my nightgown, watching him so I could get him inside quickly if he barked. No need to wake anyone unnecessarily, I thought. The terrible news from around the world would hit home soon enough.
I kept working with one eye on the television. The rest of the household padded downstairs and the morning routine, generally performed with the precision of a military maneuver, instead flopped forward.
There was the usual stuff to do, but, oh, my God, so much devastation in the world and so little we could do other than absorb it.
I noticed my son was lacing up his canvas sneakers and I told him he’d be better off wearing his boots to school, new-fallen snow and all. He began to argue with me as I watched news footage of the devastation in Japan. I waved him off.
“Maybe going through the day with wet feet will be a lesson for you,” I said.
I’m not sure if he changed his shoes or not. I was too busy sending prayers.